Mirror Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic


A short Halloween story of a man visiting an ancient mansion. Its owner family mysteriously lost back in the 1720's, the house has fallen to disrepair and ghostly apparitions are rumored to wander
it. What will Pedro find out?

Submitted: November 01, 2017

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Submitted: November 01, 2017

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MIRROR ME

==O==

I, Pedro Morales, of the Reyes family, am fully aware and conscious of my own demeanor and personal choice to tread these woods on the frigid, ghastly night of All Hallow’s Eve. The bats flitter all about the wisteria groves, and the marjoram with the jasmine sprawled on the marshy soil around me effuses me with a dizzying sensation, as of this moment. My joints are ostensibly labored, and humidity has taken a toll on me as I hack through the sprawling elms and cresses. The very ink is drying on my old, withered paper and I wholeheartedly wish my scrambled account will be legible enough to the persevering, studious observer who might read it should I not be around to make it back intact.

 

Rumors run wild of the eons-old manor I shall walk into, the Veyeres Mansion. The legacy of a family whose line abruptly ended in 1720, when a strange epidemic wiped out the last remaining descendant, Ernesto Veyeres. Weird tales are still told of him, of his uncanny resemblance to my own countenance, and a series of speculation over the origins of the Reyes ancestral line has sparkled. But my father arrived here from Louisiana with his parents in the 1900’s, and I know nothing ties me to the phantasmal horror that engulfs this family. A highly shunned place, its tomb-filled gardens of dying oaks and swerving abeles a lurid vision, not for the faint of hearted. Sometimes the shimmering glow of the mawkish Moon on the star-spangled ether counters the luminescence of Orion’s belt, as Alnitak and Mintaka strive to smolder proud enough next to fiery giants Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. And the eerie apparitions their faraway light casts on the canopy amidst the olive groves and the yews of Veyeres’ gardens are said to bare the souls and spirits of all those who wronged its once thriving landlord. I don’t know whether my strange passion for Astronomy is a means of distraction the closer I get to this doggoned estate, or merely another source of lacerating, tantalizing anguish.

 

 

A bone-chilling clink catches me by surprise when I swing open the cobwebbed door, its hinges turning into a fine mold of rust as a pitch black cat yawls somewhere deep in the engulfing shrubs. The rows of gothic windows stared down at me, and the external spiral staircases are valiant symbols of all those unsettling thoughts the peasant’s mind has when they spread the rumor to avoid this place. Faint lights blink in one of these windows on the top floor, yet if my mind is playing games with me, I know not. The shingle on the pathway to the manor’s gates rattles beneath my leather boots, and to my surprise I find the bolt opened, or maybe not at all in place. The gate, ajar, swings open.

 

In glorious effulgence a vast ballroom presents itself before me, with only the Moon’s light to make its excuse. Thick, imbroglio patterned carpets cover most of the ebony floor, and tall, dark-paned crystal windows compliment its haunting image. Sylvans and frightful wisps appear to dangle all around me, when my eyes meet the gaze of a woman more radiant and beautiful than all I have ever beheld. In a humongous portrait she is staring at me, hair a cascade of enticing black, eyes dark and brooding, her stare bedazzling and a mouth that hypnotizes at first glance. I have never had an insight into art, but the crimson red lipstick on her serene mouth has been depicted so realistically, that my scattered mind wonders whether the Beauty will step out to speak.

 

Faint notes and serenades invade my ears, a rhythm to die for, one that begs for a pace. Drum drum, the thuds echo in the misty night, a waltz of Dark Symphonies bringing all chandeliers and carpet designs to life, bringing Her to life. Ghosts and spirits dance in petrifying orations, swarming the sweltering air in a glory of spinning pirouettes, Devants and Echapees culminating in drool-worthy pies de chats, as the captivating music pounces, again and again, locking my ears, stilling my gaze not to the portrait, nor the frenzied dance, but to the Man materializing before my petty countenance.

Hair coal black, chin protruding and cornered cheekbones, a flush of red above the cheeks, a pair of well-shaped temples. Eyes brown as the oak barks in the gardens, and a stare as identical to mine as it can be, save for the lack of fear in its eyes. By gad and all that is holy, it is exactly like me! Staggering I retreat, hands endeavoring to ensconce me under the thunderous moves of the spirits’ parade, of their nightly concerto in the shunned mansion. My pen barely sustains itself on my bony, shivering fingers, and my breath hitches before the Man swings forward, and drapes me in soul-crushing oblivion and veiled terror, his long, thin cape encompassing me under the dome of Gloom. Bewitched, I surmise these will be my last words.

 

Yet in fractions of seconds before my eyes lose to his oncoming charge, I observe a very old coffin, honeysuckle alloyed with cedar, lying still in the corner beneath the Muse’s portrait where He had emerged from. And before I surrender my fate to the hands of barely an apparition, I bolt for the coffin, and blink, blink as hard as I can. As frequently as I can, in an attempt to wake from whatever terrorizing nightmare has seized me. The cat’s yawl echoes once more, the hypnotizing woman mocks me yet again, the spirits reach their Arabesque Penche at the peak of their Allegro, whirling around the Ghostly figure after me, engulfing him, surround him, drowning him under their spectral auras and their rhythmic moves. And, strangely, enough, when my last forced blink is over, only the Moon and eternal Orion in the skies are left to greet me. Victorious, I allow my drooping eyelids to rest, conscious of my win against the phantasmagoria of the saturnine spirits of the accursed Veyeres Mansion. Pedro Reyes has prevailed over the souls of the damned, and so will the papers write of me the reddish morrow that will follow Orion’s demise in a few hours. Dawn, o Lovely dawn, where art thou? My drifting mind wonders, and this is my last thought before Morpheus claims me in his lands of serenading enchantment.

 

***

My mind basks afresh, the world an array of infinite possibilities, the air redolent with the swarming crowd. Fishy smells from the harbors, pungent scents wafting the day’s ether from the bakeries, the pulse of the mob synchronizing with my every move. What a glorious time to be alive! Architecture has changed, attires are eerily new to me, and it appears my House has grown subject to neglect and disrepair. My lovely trimmed groves have outgrown their confines, a forest of ferns and thick logs now spurting where my fine coppices once lay. Alas, I should be grateful for this change. Time moves only forward, the arrow only flies forth, and moments never last. I have been granted a chance to once again roam the Earth which stripped me away so unfairly, so early. This face is not particularly bad, the pale reflection on the rivulet’s gurgling waters told me so, and thus I will descend from the hill, to mingle with the crowds, feel their emotions, witness their waking life, observe how much Time has done. Yes, yes, what a time to be alive!

 

***

And when the Moon rose once again, only darkness ruled over the old Veyeres estate. No pirouettes lit up the ballroom, no phantoms projected their abhorrent apparitions, no life was breathed into Her portrait. Ursa Major’s light shone lonely though the ancient windows, and the pale glow of the Pleiades asked for a companion amidst the oaks swaying in the Night wind. The wind, the only echo of voice whispering in the tranquil night. Rustling through the maple leaves, carrying away the grains of soil above the ancient tombs, only the wind offered him company, his screams and frantic knocks on the hard honeysuckle and cedar ceiling muffled forever under the bolted screws.

 

Indeed, that terrifying, bone-chilling night’s wind diving through the Old Woods, the suffocating Pedro Reyes would never forget………

 

 

 

JAMES KINGSTON


© Copyright 2018 James Kingston. All rights reserved.

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